Aligarh: Two days after 14 Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students were booked on sedition charges, the Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday said there was “no prime evidence regarding sedition in this case”.
The police, after investigating video and photographic evidence against the accused students, which includes current and former office-bearers of the student’s union, said the allegation did not hold ground and indicated the charges “may be dropped”, the Indian Express reported.
A probe was initiated after the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s (BJYM) Aligarh unit president Mukesh Lodhi alleged that anti-national slogans such as “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Bharat Murdabad” were raised on the campus on February 12. The complaint was filed after the students were involved in an altercation with the crew of news channel Republic TV.
Aligarh SSP Akash Kulhary, as quoted by Indian Express, said no prime evidence regarding a sedition case has been recorded, adding that the names of 17 people have been identified, of whom five are outsiders.
While the names have been forwarded to the AMU administration to conduct an internal inquiry, the police will club these names along with the list of 15 complaints filed into a single FIR.
It has been observed that the police filed the sedition charge immediately, but took two days to act on complaints by AMU office-bearers and others. When inquired about this delay, Kulhary said, “When sedition allegations were made, we were bound to register an FIR. But in this case, there are 15 complaints. I cannot register 15 FIRs, and communicated this to AMU.”
The SSP added that the police has suggested rustication of the accused, the report said.
The varsity administration said eight students have already been suspended. “There will be a thorough inquiry. Our university stands for nation-building…,” said AMU’s public relations officer Omar Peerzada, as quoted by Indian Express.
According to officials, a series of incidents led to Tuesday’s violence. These involve a fight between two BTech students from the same hostel the night before, a meeting of several Muslim outfits at the Social Science faculty conference hall, where AIMIM Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi was to be present, and an altercation with Republic TV new channel’s cameraperson and reporters.